What has the Internet done to Us? Part II

Well, as you can see it has been a while since I last wrote.  This will get more frequent, but the post will definitely be shorter.

As I said in my last post, consumers no longer want to be pushed into products by marketers.  So how do we market with this in mind?

Well, the key in the new media age is that people now respect people and companies who are confident in who they are, and act with a consistent voice, personality, ie brand.  This brand must be cohesive and in the retail world believed in by the CEO to the sales people.  This must be the true image and brand of the company however, if it is not all is lost because people will quickly discover who you truly are.

Be careful to not confuse what I am saying here with the old world term of branding. An old world brand would be a polished representation of the company that is not unique and does not have any quirks, or personality. Instead it was a brand with no personality. Today’s brands must have personality, just like any interesting person does. Don’t the people you love to be around the most, have unique traits that make them fun? So do great companies. No one wants to be surrounded with insecure people who act as if they are acting all the time and are too polished, same goes with companies.

Take Apple and Ikea, they are both very polished brands but also have unique quirks that make them stand out from the crowd. They have done a great job of getting everyone in the company to believe in the brand and it’s quirks.

This consistency does alienate some people, but it also develops rabid fans of others. You can no longer appeal to everyone.  You cannot change the brand based on what you heard in some focus group. Apple and Ikea live and breathe their brands from the top down, and everyone in the company knows what they stand for and they reflect that in all their work. Actually by doing this, you attract employees who have the same image the company has. Every creative geek wants to work for Apple, and many younger people would love to work at Ikea.

Overall, if you do not know the brand or personality of your company, you better start looking for it. You can normally find it in the CEO (just pray he/you has/have some personality) those quirks he/you has/have could be what sets your company apart. After you find it, you better start living it and make sure the people you have working for you believe it as well. If they don’t get someone who does. Then once this brand is consistent from top to bottom you need to start marketing this brand. A group of people will then associate and relate with your brand, and become rabid fans. These key consumers will then convert legions of consumers who are indifferent or have little knowledge of your product category.

You can choose not to do this, but you will continue have just a few dedicated customers, instead a legion of dedicated followers. Please don’t forget, people want to hear the truth, be real, and do not try to be everything to all people. The last thing we need in the world is another poser, we see enough of those at bars on the weekend.